Game Preview: Raptors vs. Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks (19-15) @ Toronto Raptors (24-10)
When: January 1 , 7:30 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: SN1, TSN1050
Toronto’s most recent regular season meeting against the Bucks came in March of last year where they were defeated in Milwaukee 101-94. Playing without Kyle Lowry who was rehabbing his right wrist, the Raptors gave up a 41-point second quarter, falling behind 53-42 at the half. Though things were close in the second half, Toronto couldn’t slow Giannis Antetokounmpo who finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, or Khris Middleton who led the Bucks with 24 points. Spencer Hawes also scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting off the bench. The Raptors were led by 19 points from Serge Ibaka and 14 points from Cory Joseph, starting in place of Lowry. DeMar DeRozan had 11 in the loss.
Leading into tonight’s game:
Injury report: For the Raptors, the injury report is clear. Jabari Parker (left knee surgery) and Mirza Teletovic (pulmonary emboli) are out for the Bucks.
Kicking off 2018: Toronto enters the new year with a 24-10 record, going an NBA-best 13-1 on the Air Canada Centre floor. The team has won 11 in a row at the ACC, tying their second-longest streak at home. The franchise record for wins at home is 12, occurring Jan 18 — Mar 4, 2016. January will be a big month for the Raptors on their home floor with nine of 15 games played at the ACC.
Bucks strong late: The Bucks come to Toronto on a two-game win streak. Most recently, Milwaukee defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 97-95, thanks to a dunk from Giannis Antetokounmpo with less than a second remaining. Prior to the victory against the Thunder, the Bucks defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 102-96, completing their largest comeback since 2013, fighting all the way back from 20-down in the third quarter.
Happy New Year: The Raptors are 3-2 overall in games played on New Year’s Day, including 2-0 when hosting at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto was on the road for Jan. 1 last season, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 123-114 at Staples Centre.
First meeting: Monday’s game will be Toronto’s first meeting with the Bucks since the two teams faced off in a first-round playoff series last April. Toronto won the series 4-2, with DeMar DeRozan averaging 23.5 points per game. So far this season, DeRozan is averaging 24.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists. For Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo is leading the way once again, averaging 29.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists on 54 percent shooting.
Getting familiar: After Monday’s first meeting against the Bucks, the two teams will meet again on Friday, Jan. 5, this time in Milwaukee. Toronto heads out on a three-game road trip following Monday’s game at the ACC where they will face the Chicago Bulls, the Bucks for a second time, and then close out the trip in Brooklyn. Monday’s game is the second in a seven-game stretch where Toronto will face Eastern Conference opponents.